Today’s guest post comes to us from Laura Spencer, a well-known crack writer, blogger and head editor at Freelance Folder, one of the blogosphere’s largest hangouts for freelancers. She responded to a post written last week about when your guest post is held hostage – and her comment was so well thought out that I asked her for her opinions on how to be a great guest poster. Here it is – enjoy!
So, you’ve decided to incorporate guest posting into your marketing strategy. Good for you.
Guest posting can be an effective way to reach your target audience.
Guest poster Chris Birk did a good job recently of describing how a writer feels when a guest post is accepted but has not yet been published. However, with all due respect to Chris’s excellent insights, that’s only half the story.
As an editor at a blog, a writer for three blogs, and an owner of two blogs–I have been on the receiving end of a lot of guest posts over the years. I can tell you one thing: While many guest posters are extremely talented, some are not. A few are pushy and some are even rude.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of emailing off four, five, or more guest posts quickly and then expecting to see your work on the blog of your choice the very next day. After all, the blog editor/owner has probably been waiting breathlessly for your little darlings, right?
Sorry, no. Usually, things don’t work that way.
Thoughtful Actions to Help You Get Published
First of all, every single blog is different. Every blog editor or owner has different expectations and needs. This can make it tough to break in as a guest author.
However, there are some relatively easy steps any guest author can take. These steps will usually increase the chances of getting a post published. Here are my suggestions:
- Before your write your guest post, read the blog where you want to submit your guest post. I mean REALLY read it. Take the time to study the last four or five posts published. Look at the style and tone of the blog. Scan the topics that have already been covered.
- Look for a writer’s guidelines page. Not all blogs will have this page and sometimes the page is hard to find. But, when a guidelines page is there make sure that you follow it to the letter. This page is a blueprint for you and usually describes what a blog is looking for.
- If the blog is missing a writer’s guideline page, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a blog doesn’t accept guest posts–but, it could. Look at the blog site again to see if any other guest authors have already been published. If in doubt, a polite email to the site owner may be in order.
- Make your post as editor-friendly as possible. This includes proofreading your post thoroughly. If possible, format the post in HTML. If the blog uses images, find a royalty-free image that fits your topic and attach it your post.
- Once the post is accepted, be sure to iron out the important details, such as whether or not you will be paid for the post and who owns the published post.
What to Do While Waiting to Be Published
Oops! You’ve sent your post in. It’s been a day or two and you haven’t heard back from the editor yet. Or, the editor said they would use your post, but it’s been over a week and they haven’t published it.
It’s time to shake the dust from your feet and move on, right?
Wrong! If you submitted your post to a large blog, remember that they may get dozens of guest posts each week. Often, posts are scheduled in advance (sometimes way in advance).
If you submitted to a smaller blog, the site owner may be blogging in addition to doing a regular job. He or she may be busy with work, or they may even be on vacation.
Be patient. It’s perfectly acceptable to email your contact and ask about the status of your post.
Common Mistakes Guest Authors Make
Here are some common mistakes that I’ve seen guest authors make. (You’re reading this post, so you now know better. I don’t want to catch any of you making these mistakes. 😉 )
- A guest post that has nothing to do with the topic of the blog
- A guest post that is a thinly disguised advertorial, chock full of affiliate links
- A guest post that has been used elsewhere
- A guest post that you wouldn’t be proud to put on your own site
Do you accept guest posts on your blog? What guidelines do you have? Are you a guest poster? Has this post been helpful to you?
Laura Spencer is a freelance writer with over 19 years of professional writing experience. She blogs at Writing Thoughts and is editor for Freelance Folder.